Sports betting in New York took another step on Monday as Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr.’s bill cleared the Senate with ease by a vote of 57-5. That was the easy part; now the road starts to get more and more difficult. With the legislative session ending on Wednesday, time is the enemy of New York.
Addabbo Jr.’s bill, S 17D, would expand legal sports betting in the state. Currently, sports betting is allowed at upstate casinos on site. Addabbo Jr.’s bill would expand sports betting to off-track betting facilities, racetracks, and sporting venues. He understands the importance of this bill and how devastating it could be to New York if this bill doesn’t pass by Wednesday’s deadline.
“If we leave the session not doing it, it will leave $100 million on the table in revenue to the state, leave an illegal activity to continue in our state and our downstate residents to continue to go to New Jersey to partake in sports betting there,” said Addabbo.
Now the fate of his sports betting bill is in the hands of the Assembly. It won’t be as easy to clear in the Assembly as it was in the Senate, but Addabbo believes there is enough support. All the bill needs is a majority vote in the 150-member Assembly.
Not Done Yet
Even if the bill does manage to make its way through the Assembly, the biggest hurdle of all remains at the end of the yellow brick road. Governor Andrew Cuomo has said on a number of occasions that he doesn’t expect mobile sports betting to make its way to New York this year. Cuomo still believes that a change to the state constitution would be necessary in order to bring mobile sports betting to the state.
Addabbo believes that just getting the bill onto the governor’s desk and forcing him to make a decision is a big step. “He can get a bill passed by the Senate and Assembly and then he has to make a decision to veto it, approve it, or maybe work with us on an administrative version of mobile.”
Not Enough Time
Addabbo knows that there it is in all likelihood that his bill won’t pass in time. He has already discussed what will happen if the bill fails to pass in time. “After the session ends, we’ll regroup and see what direction to go in because jobs will be in jeopardy.”
Another reason Addabbo wants his bill to pass is the effect that it will have on the declining horse racing and off-track betting facilities markets. “If we don’t infuse activity into the game situation here in the state, horse racing is hurting, OTBs are hurting. There are a number of places that will benefit from sports betting and, if we don’t do it, some jobs will be in jeopardy.”
Who Benefits If It Doesn’t Pass?
New Jersey and Pennsylvania have to be waiting in anticipation of what will happen in New York. If the Empire State fails to pass mobile sports betting this session, then those two states, New Jersey especially, stand to gain the most from it.
The amount of revenue that New York would be losing would be astronomical. It is hard to believe that New York wouldn’t be more aggressive in bringing something like mobile sports betting, which more and more states are legalizing each year, to the state when it can bring in such high amounts of revenue.
Illegal sports betting is happening in the state every day, a lot of it. Why not bring it out of the dark and tax it so that the state can at least stand to benefit from this “controversial” topic?